Studio Pictures: MindfulDrawing.com

 

Paula’s prints are at Etsy.

Here is Jamie’s Poetry website, a website full resources.

Saunter through Patricia’s colourful garden here!

Marts, For Much Deliberation is one Trinidadian geographer’s attempt to compile as much geographical information as possible from existing internet resources. Very interesting!

Sybille’s, my Italian art friends, most colourful website is here.

Lilliya’s beautiful Etsy shop is here. You should see how she combines wood with silver. Elvish, magical, very skillful and beautiful.

Linda is a great and unstoppable illustrator and story-teller. Enjoy her weekly blogposts here.

Stay happy & healthy,

Paula

 

 

Shamanistic and Lascaux Cave Themed Art Study

Shamanistic Art by Paula Kuitenbrouwer at www.mindfuldrawing.com

Detail of Lion-man

Shamanistic Art by Paula Kuitenbrouwer at www.mindfuldrawing.com

Detail of Venus of Willendorf,

Shamanistic Art by Paula Kuitenbrouwer at www.mindfuldrawing.com

 Prehistoric Lascaux Shaman Art Study by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

As far as we know now, the oldest ‘religion’ is shamanism and the oldest art is prehistoric cave art, as to be found, for instance, in the French cave of Lascaux and the cave of Hohlenstein Stadel, Germany.

I’ve drawn a shamanistic or prehistoric art theme study. My drawing shows Venus of Willendorf and Lion-man of Hohlenstein Stadel at its centre.

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The Venus of Willendorf, a.k.a. the Woman of Willendorf, 28,000 – 25,000 B.C.E, which is an 11.1-centimetre high statuette of a female figure estimated to have been made between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE. I adore this hand-size small statuette and in order to understand it deeper, I’ve drawn Venus front, back and side-ways. I’ve discovered such fine details and by drawing this small statuette, my appreciation for it has grown and grown. I’m sure you have seen it before, but have you noticed Venus’s skinny arms, and her small fingers resting on her (pregnant) breasts? Did you notice that she has three scars on her left arm and that, maybe as a result of these scars, her fingers of her left hand are badly shaped?

‘Why has she no face?’, I kept asking myself. It isn’t because the carver couldn’t handle details, look at her skilful and detailed hair-do! Maybe her face isn’t featured because what she represents is bigger than her individuality. ‘Why are her arms so disproportional skinny?’ And related to this, ‘why is she missing her feet?’ (Scientist don’t believe they got lost). Venus has arms, hands and fingers, but why did Venus’s creator chose to give her emaciated arms? What is the narrative of this decision? Should we see Venus’s skinny arms and missing feet in relation to her missing facial features and conclude that Venus is not a person, but as a goddess, a fertility symbol? But is she pregnant as so many assume? She looks like having a high BMI; did prehistoric pregnant women have a high BMI? I can only picture prehistoric people as rather slender, and pregnant women slender with a bigger belly. Although a mammoth is a big meal, there weren’t prehistoric supermarkets full ready-to-eat meals.

Catherine McCoid and LeRoy McDermott have hypothesised that the figurines may have been created as self-portraits by women, that is a self portrait carved by looking down on your own body, having no mirror at hand to correct that top-down perspective. The woman looks down and sees her bodily features but her feet are overshadowed by her big belly. But if a woman looks down on her (pregnant or big) belly, she indeed doesn’t see her feet, but she doesn’t see her vulva either and the Venus of Willendorf has a vulva and legs. Although McCoid and LePoys self-portrait theory is very interesting, it is a 21st century theory that has an individual (observation) at its heart. For me the missing face and feet and the skinny arms are references that stretch further than a wish to make a 3d self portrait.

lionman

The Hohlenstein Stadel lion-man dates back 40.000 years. ‘Man’ stands here for human, because the gender of this statuette, is uncertain. This statuette is 11 cm height, 3 times taller than Venus. Lion-man is half man- half animal. Lion-man is sculptured from woolly mammoth ivory and probably one of the oldest known zoomorphic (animal-shaped) sculpture in the world. Remarkable are the seven parallel, transverse, carved gouges are on the left arm. If I’ve correctly observed, Venus of Willendorf has 3 markings/scars on her left arm. ‘Why?’ I ask myself, while I study these statuettes by drawing them. Did prehistoric people vaccinate themselves by setting scratches is upper-arms? That is a very 21st hypothesis, but do not underestimate how clever prehistoric people were. Although there is no proof that prehistoric cave people performed brain surgery as the ancient Inca surgeons (AD 1000) did, by successfully removed small portions of patients’ skulls to treat head injuries, prehistoric cave people might have had their smart ways with administering herbs and drugs for medical reasons. But maybe it had nothing to do with health but with hierarchy. After all, we still use army stripes to communicate military hierarchy.

For me, sitting quietly in my studio, reading, drawing and studying brings me close to the objects that I draw or paint. This process of mindfully observing, quieting the mind and focussing on the object is bridging the gap between the object and me.  Firstly, I appreciate the features and carves that shape Venus and Lion-man, but then I try to steer away from art appreciation. I try to feel what the creators of Venus and Lion-man had in mind. I try to see how many hours they have worked on these statuettes. Did they use models? Where were they when they made these statuettes? And finally, I arrive at deeper questions, why these carves on their arms? Why don’t they have human faces? Are these statuettes ‘l’art pour l’art’, for the sake of art exclusively, or are these statuettes used in shamanistic rituals?

As a vegan and pet owner, I love reading about research that rebukes differences between animals and humans. There is hardly a week passing without scientific evidence emerging on how clever animals are and how humanly they behave. By now we know bees do maths and pigs are extremely sensitive so smart that they can do maths too when they are rewarded with snacks (like …right, children). Regarding hybrid statuettes, I so wonder whether there is a why, when or who to the difference between choosing prehistoric hydride statutes having a human body with an animal (like Lion-man) and, for instance sphinxes, having an animal body with a human head.

In the background of my study of Venus of Willendorf and Lion-man of Hohlenstein Stadel, I’ve drawn the stick topped by a bird of the shamanistic scene of Lascaux ‘Prostrate man with Bison’, hand prints as found in many prehistoric caves, ‘Engraved deer’ and ‘Large black cow’, also both Lascaux paintings.

For many prehistoric art is the start-point of art, based on the assumption that we have gained much since 40.000 BCE. Having studied many hours of art history, I fully appreciate and understand the assumption of linear progression. Yet, when I study prehistoric art, the question that nags me persistently and makes me lose track of time, that makes me hungry for more and more hours of studying is; ‘What have we lost since 40.000 BCE?’. Scientific research and shamanistic books make me think that we have lost a lot. I hope that by studying more, through reading and drawing, I will regain a bit more insight in why we are so stunned by prehistoric art and what we have lost.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At www.paulaartshop.com

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Peony Time

Pioenroos print met pioenroos

A real Peony, a printed Peony and notice the one on the Korean flower vase.

Tulpen en Pioenroos peony print.jpg

Peony and Tulip art prints of pencil drawings by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Beach treasures

Beach treasures. Before you think Paula has painting pebbles, I didn’t. That awesome white stone with that intricate wine red pattern, that is dried seaweed. Nature is a great artist.

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On a desk with 3 art prints by Paula Kuitenbrouwer.

Dog Sketch

And my darling daughter drew this cute dog. I framed it straight away. My daughter’s shop is at Etsy too, click here to say hello by giving her perhaps a whole lot of hearts?

Love,

Paula

My Etsy & my Art Shop.

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Lotus Plant Drawings: Botanical and Symbolic

Two Lotus Prints

Lotus Plant’ & ‘Lotus Pond with Tortoise’

by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

In preparation for the upcoming birthday of the Buddha, I have drawn two different views of a lotus plant. Much venerated in Buddhism, the lotus is one of the ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’. It is also a delight to draw, as the textured leaves and petals of the plant encourage the kind of finely-detailed observation and drawing work that give richness and texture to an image.

For my first drawing, ‘Lotus Plant’, I researched and focused on all the interconnecting parts of the plant. Most drawings and paintings of the lotus concentrate on the flower itself; the next part, the stem, is submerged and thus often merely hinted at. And the roots, although many of us will be familiar with them as edible parts of the plant, are rarely depicted in art, since they grow deep in the muddy bed of the pond.

For a Buddhist, this concept of living in three mediums – mud, water, air – signifies a progression. The soul journeys from the muddiness of materialism, through the water-world in which we live and experience our daily, day-to-day lives, and thence beyond, to enlightenment in the ethereal world of light and air. That these parts are all connected, roots to stem, stem to flower, is reflected in my drawing.

My ‘Lotus Pond with Tortoise’ shows the flowering plant, partly in water, and blooming just at the surface. A tortoise, resting on a rock, looks up at the lotus. Such a bright and beautiful flower is an inspiration to all who see it, tortoise as much as human.

In Asian culture, tortoises are sacred. The longevity and tenacity that they symbolize seemed to me to be a wonderful way to celebrate what the birthday of the Buddha means. We need to live long and work hard to reach enlightenment. And if the ageing process is enlightenment in slow motion, as John C. Robinson describes in his book ‘The Three Secrets of Ageing’, then my combining of the symbols of enlightenment with those of longevity expresses this process.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Lotus (Botanical) at Etsy

Lotus with Tortoise at Etsy

 

 

Magpies, Magpie, Pica Pica, Pie Bavarde, Urraca, Elster, Gazza, Snag Breac, Pega, Ekster

Magpies Family

Magpie Family, gouache paint, copyright by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

We have a magpie family in our garden. Initially it worried me that their presence would result in having very few songbirds. Luckily, this isn’t the case. We have a variety of songbirds. As long as you feed your bird, they will visit your garden.

Magpies are very smart and charmingly funny. They walk in our garden like it is theirs. They might be right, because who owns a garden anyway? Humans because they have laws on ownership?  Magpies live by their own set of rules on dominance and territory.

But not all is happy in a magpie life. When magpies are facing food shortages, they start feeding only one young. You don’t need to have a degree in ethical thinking to understand how unbelievably stressful and sad that must be for a magpie family.

My magpies have one young, but that is because a storm has been battering their nest. There is plenty of natural food in our garden and there is a bird-feeder with scrumptious snacks. One parent sits relaxed, guarding their young, while the other parent tenderly feeds it. Their young looks strong and demanding, precisely how a magpie young should look and behave. It will nag its parents for a considerable part of the summer till the parents tell it politely to buzz off, no…of course not, they probably start to ignore it or give it a nasty peck. By that time, my family has had sleepless early mornings thanks to the magpie screeching. At such moments you know absolutely sure you will ban them from your garden. But later in the day, you seem them proudly walking and smartly communicating, maybe even playing, and… ah well…next year…likely….maybe.

Magpies, you got to love them…

Paula

Original is not for sale, prints are at Etsy or Amazon Handmade.

Drawing a Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)

 

Crow

A story of a friend inspired me to draw a Carrion Crow. Initially I didn’t feel challenged drawing charcoal black birds, but after studying a few cheeky crows in our garden, I observed they weren’t solid black at all. I noticed a lot of indigo blue, even a tiny bit of warm auburn and the shiny feathers reflected some light blue.

After studying crows, on a beautiful autumn day, I noticed a blackbird sitting in our pink berried Mountain Ash (Sorbus huphensis). It made me stop and watch the scene. How pretty to see this blackbird, that, like the Carrion Crow, wasn’t solid black, in this flame red and orange tree that had a few last green leaves. The blackbird was eating berries, like crows do too when there aren’t other human caused snacks around.

Thus, I felt inspired to draw a black-indigo crow and a warm red and orange Mountain Ash tree. I opted for a diagonal composition, carefully balancing the black/indigo blue bird with the flamy autumn colours. The diagonal composition allowed me to put the red berries on the front and push the crow a bit to the back, preventing it to become too dominant.

Crow is overlooking a garden or park. He is resting but not sleeping. He ate some berries and the sky reflects indigo blue on his feathers, while the red and orange autumn colours shine a tiny bit on his side feathers. He is full colour, yet he remains a solid ebony bird.

A print with a Certificate of Authenticity is at Etsy. The original will become available at http://www.paulakuitenbrouwer.com (or inquiries at mindfuldrawing@gmail.com).

 

Fall Harvest Dangling Display with Berries, Eucalyptus, Birch, Chestnut & Brambles

I’ve drawn ‘Harvest Dangling Display’ after I collected the first autumn leaves and fruits in our garden and nearby park. Left to right: Berries, Eucalyptus, Birch, Chestnut, and Brambles are dangling on a piece of driftwood that I found bobbing in an Atlantic Ocean tidal pool at the east coast of Ireland. It has this bleached grey colour and texture that I find very pretty.

Prints come with a Hahnemühle Certificate of Authenticity & Hologram System that is designed to protect the security and genuineness of this limited edition and reproductions on Hahnemühle paper. Printed details are amazingly clear.

harvest-copyright

Details:

 

Print is available at Etsy and at Paula’s Art Shop

Paula